Structural Integration (SI) is a body therapy which releases tensions and balances the body as a whole. This method was developed by Dr. Ida P. Rolf in 1960s.
The SI method focuses on the connective tissue called fascia which ensheathes muscles, bones and organs. SI further concentrates on the fascia of the muscles, which is called myofascha. This myofascha connects and supports muscles and bones and forms the structure of the body. It is an organizing factor that, in response to movement of muscles inside of the myofascha, results in the structure of the body. Fascia is layered throughout the body. It can be found right under the skin as the most superficial fascia. It also wraps and shapes each muscle and the muscle groups which eventually connect through tendons and ligaments to the preosteum, the bone fascia, at the deepest level.
Fascia is a fibrous tissue and responds to stimuli, such as the force of gravity, action and movement in order to support our bodies. It is plastic and resilient so that it can support a moving structure. The force of gravity is pulling us down all the time, but because of this resilient fascia our body is pulling us up against it.
By "plastic" I mean like the surface property of a ball of moist clay. When you push against the clay, there is a fingerprint that stays on the surface of the ball. Because fascia is plastic, it remembers information it got by stimulation.
Once fascia has lost its resilience locally or generally, the body loses its range of movement. The fascia becomes thickened, shortened and hardened. When this happens in the superficial fascia, it is like you are wearing a one-size too small wet suit. It is hard to move. When this happens in the deeper layers of the fascia, the fascia, the wrapping material of each muscle, restricts the movement of the muscle. Since muscles are wrapping bones, when they lose the ability to move, it makes the spaces between bones compressed. Since the body always try to keep in balance, other areas compensate for those hardened and ristricted areas, and this random order becomes your habitual holding pattern.
The SI method is to open up these hardened, thickened and shortened fascia and to make them resilient again. Once the restriction of this wrapping material or "outer bag" is gone, the contents of the bag, the muscle, can be free to move and it regains the space between bones. This results in better blood flow that brings oxgen and nutrition to each cell and makes them healther.
As a result, aches, pain or discomfort can usually be eased or go away completely although SI is not intended to "heal" or "cure" your pain.
SI makes your movement more economical. Because the ristriction of the muscle movement is gone, the body moves more effortlessly and lightly. Performance improves not only for althetes or dancers but for all of us who move through this gravitational field.
SI work affects us not only physically but emotionally too, since the body tends to hold emotions at the hardened area which then manifests as pain. SI can allow you to become well-balanced physically as well as emotionally. Many become more enegetic and have greater self-confidence.
Because of the characteristics of fascia, which is plastic, the SI method lasts. But remember, we are living with gravity that is always pulling us down. Please listen to your body. We recommend you to come back once a year or so for maintenance sessions.
It might help you to understand the practical benefits of SI by hearing from people who have experienced it. Click here.
Everybody is so busy in our modern society and tries to finish whatever tasks they have by prioritizing them. Because we are busy, we need to have healthy lives. But taking care of ourselves often ends up at the end of our list. Please put your well-being back on top to lead a healthier and happier life! I look forward to working with you to achieve this goal.
Structral Integration is also known as "Rolfing," which is a nickname from the founder's name, Dr. Ida P. Rolf.